After I posed some questions for readers to ponder regarding why so many
band organs sound different from each other, Howard Jensen and Robbie
suggested that it would be nice to have a list of some recordings to
demonstrate some of these different-sounding organs.
The Mechanical Music Press web site includes a page with links to several
suppliers of audio recordings, including a nice variety of fairground,
band and dance organs. Go to http://www.mechanicalmusicpress.com/ , scroll
down the left column to the heading "Audio Recordings" and click on
"Mechanical Music Recordings." If you click on the links, you'll find
sound clips on some of the sites, such as Bill Black's "Carrousel Music"
and Chris Carlisle's "Paul Eakins Nickelodeon Music" so you can preview
a few of the many different sounding organs and see what CDs you might
like to order.
I have no commercial connection to any of the links in the site (except
that I arrange music rolls for the Ramey Banjo-Orchestra, featured in
the linked D.C. Ramey site) and I don't receive anything for recommending
them except for reciprocal links. We included the links to give readers
the broadest introduction to mechanical music as possible. I haven't
updated the web page in a long time; if you offer recordings and would
like to be listed, or if you find a link that doesn't work, please
contact me and I'll forward them to the webmaster.
Another CD that contains a nice variety of fine European organs is
"Musical Memories" from the Nationaal Museum "van Speelklok tot Pierement,"
the Dutch National Museum. Visit the museum's web site to order it.
In the 1950s and 1960s, numerous record albums of automatic organs were
marketed in the U.S., some of them quite good and all now out of print.
Many of the Eakins records are still available on CDs as mentioned
above. For MMD readers who have one of those antiquated devices with
a turntable and tone arm that plays 33-1/3 rpm record albums, here are
a few of my other favorites that demonstrate a variety of automatic
organs. A few occasionally show up on eBay and usually sell for very
"Dutch Band Organ" - HiFiRecord R902 - a nice Dutch street organ
owned by Henk Mohlmann.
"Mammoth Fair Organ" - London LL1644 - A great Hooghuys fair organ
from Carrousel Becquart.
"The Swiss Band Organ" - Everest Tradition 2081 - A large Gavioli
converted to play Ruth/Voigt music.
"The Mortier Dance Hall Organ" - Capitol STAW 15002 - Roger Burville's
"Dance Hall Saturday Night" - Concert Recording CR-M102 - B Bronson's
121-key Decap dance organ.
"Afternoon in Amsterdam" - Capitol T10003 - Jac. Minnning's famous
Dutch street organ "Jupiter."
With a few exceptions, the record jackets don't tell you much, but the
music is worth the cost of the albums anyway.